Dispute shuts down biker rally
Sunday, September 9, 2012
REDMOND, Ore. — Police shut down an Oregon motorcycle rally following a confrontation between biker groups, prompting the cancelation of a headlining concert and catching some event-goers in the middle of getting a tattoo.
Redmond Police Capt. Brian McNaughton said a contingent of the Mongols arrived at the Run to the Cascades rally at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds on Saturday evening and threatened members of the Hells Angels with violence if they didn't leave. The Hells Angels had a booth at the event.
The Hells Angels packed up, but witnesses told law enforcement that the bikers said they were coming back with more members to settle the dispute.
Redmond officers contacted the fairgrounds director and, with the assistance of sheriff's deputies, state police and Bend police, shut down the rally. They threatened anyone who stayed with trespassing citations.
The early closing forced the cancelation of a headlining concert by the classic-rock group Foghat. Some people were arriving for the concert as police were shutting the event down.
Some tattoo artists were inking their customers and had to quickly finish up.
Thousands of bikers attended the rally, which began Friday. It attracted motorcyclists from around the region for concerts, events and activities focused on the themes of remembrance to those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and celebrating American freedom.
"The two motorcycle clubs, Hells Angels and Mongols, have a history of very violent encounters," Redmond police Capt. Brian McNaughton said. "It is the intent of the officials involved to assure our citizens' safety, and this is always the top priority in any decision of this nature."